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Tag Archives: stabvests
The Home Office recommends KR1/SP1 as the level of protection for their police force and this offers a great level of protection against stab, spike, syringe and blunt trauma in a wide variety of situations. The Kr above stands for knife resistance and the SP for spike resistance. These are two quite different things, and can be the difference between serious injury and escaping without a graze. Now let’s take a step back and try to understand under what circumstances a stab vest is most and least effective.
As we’ve blogged previously, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch provides the certification for stab vest protection – KR1 (Knife Resistance Level 1) is the most common standard for stab protection, and this is often paired with SP1 (Spike Protection Level 1). However, it’s key to point out that SP1 doesn’t cover syringe protection, and that there isn’t a Home Office standard for syringe protection.
If your risk assessment states that your stab vest needs to include protection from syringes, it’s a matter of asking potential suppliers to visit you to demonstrate the syringe-resistant capabilities of their products. We think this is a must when you are dealing with such a crucial piece of protective equipment as stabvests. Please give us a call or post a comment if you have any queries on this matter.
Further to our post last week, what is body armour?, we wanted to talk about the most widely used type of body armour in the UK – stab vests. Stab vests protect the vital inner organs from knives and sharp/edged weapons.
In the UK, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) is responsible for setting the standards for stab protection. Knife Resistance Level 1, known as “KR1”, and Spike Resistance Level 1, known as “SP1” is the stab protection recommended by the HOSDB for general police duties. Knife Resistance Level 2 (“KR2”) & Spike Resistance Level 2 (“SP2) is the stab protection recommended by the HOSDB for more dangerous police duties, such as armed patrol in higher risk situations such as escorting prisoners and airport patrols.
The “Spike” bit of “Spike Resistance” refers to spiked implements like screwdrivers, chisels etc. It’s important to note that unless a stab vest is certified to SP1 or SP2, it may not protect adequately from spikes. Spikes are a growing threat due to the ease of obtaining improvised weapons (more on this in future posts).
More importantly, however, please note that it isn’t illegal to sell stabvests that aren’t certified by the Home Office – these are widely available. The onus is on the employer to ensure their staff are adequately protected. In our experience, local authorities, blue chip companies and all organisations that wish to properly protect their staff and fulfill their duty of care insist on Home Office certified stab vests.
As well as knives and spikes, which are covered by the Home Office standards, there are other threats your staff may be exposed to which aren’t covered by a governing body. There is no Home Office standard for syringe protection or for blunt trauma (body blows) protection, but these are very significant threats. We’ll be looking at these threats in more detail in future posts.
Why not post a comment (or email or call us) with your thoughts on this very important topic?
Police community support officers have a role that is distinct from police special constables, community wardens and traffic wardens – their job is to support the police specifically in issues affecting the community’s quality of life e.g. antisocial behaviour. It’s unfortunately indicative of the growing violence in society that PCSO’s in Staffordshire will this month be wearing stab vests for the first time according to the BBC .
Understandably, some of the PCSO’s involved feel that this presents the wrong image. However there are stabvests on the market that are more subtle so it’s not immediately obvious that the wearer is wearing a stab vest. I also think that there’s an expectation these days that police-related authority figures will be wearing stab vests – the public understand that there’s a growing minority of criminals out there who do present a risk, and the police and PCSO’s who put themselves in harms way need to be protected accordingly.